Tuesday, March 21, 2006

At least we're agreed on something

Mr Spouse and I watched "Britain's Oldest Mums and Dads", or some other such rubbish, last week, and on hearing about a couple of women's decisions to use donor eggs, we turned to each other and said "I don't think that's for us". My feeling is that if I am going to have children who are not genetically related to me, I would rather adopt them than have donor eggs or embryos.

I have no idea if I'd feel the same if we had male factor infertility. But it appears we don't - so it is only my (presumably) ageing eggs that are the issue. I cling to the belief that it is FSH that matters, and the knowledge that my mother (before the HRT at the age of about 48, I think) had a late menopause. But I could be wrong.

I'm not sure why this is. I like to think that it's because I really want to have children who are like me in personality, interests, and preferences, not looks - and you can't choose egg donors by whether they learn languages extremely rapidly, love playing music and doing crafts but aren't very good at either, or are useless at tidying up. Actually, I'd rather have an egg donor who was good at tidying up. I also like to think that it's because I hope that if I can't get pregnant with a combination of his-and-hers gametes, we can give something to a child who otherwise would not have a family.

However I have a feeling it's actually because I have bought into my family myth of genetic perfection - we are the cleverest family on the planet, and intelligence is the only thing that matters in life, and there is no way a child not genetically related to us is going to be halfway as brilliant as us. We are taking a risk by diluting the gene pool with anyone outside the family. It would be an unmitigated disaster to bring a child into the family who had a learning disability, and only slightly better a child who wasn't related to us.

But it's probably OK if it's a girl. My grandfather was once bemoaning the fact that my brother had given up maths, and wasn't going to follow in his footsteps as a maths professor. I pointed out that I, too, had disliked maths despite getting good marks, and was quite happy in another science, as is my brother. "Oh, that's different". Why, Grandpa? Because I'm female?

Forgot to say: we were away at the weekend and visited D, the minister who did our wedding. We seem to be having annual MOTs with him - he says he takes the marriage seriously too, and was pretty gruelling in our pre-wedding counselling, and was very good when we saw him after the miscarriage, just over a year ago. He said one thing that really hit the nail on the head: "this whole thing must take up a lot of headspace".

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